VBSR Logo Vermont
for Social Responsibility
Will Patten

There are a couple of distinct viewpoints on the current economic crisis.  They offer equally distinct views of the future.

The Vermont perspective is very real.  Our friends and neighbors have lost jobs; we watch families, companies and our governments struggle to make do with less; the value of our assets plummet.

From this viewpoint, we look forward to going back where we were.  The economy recovers; we return to work; 401K's are restored; the tax base is rebuilt.  Surely this bust will be followed with another boom.  It's just a question of when.

The national perspective is more remote for Vermonters but equally real.  Banks are closing every week; the automobile industry is bankrupt; the credit market is closed and retail sales have tanked.  

From this viewpoint, recovery doesn't look so good:  banks would sell more artificial instruments of artificial value; huge gas guzzlers would start rolling off the production lines; we get back to borrowing more and more money to buy more and more of what we don't need.

Unfortunately Vermont's economy can't recover until the national economy reinvents itself and starts providing us what we really need like affordable health care, carbon-free energy and healthy food.   

At VBSR, we see a window of opportunity to reinvent this economy before it recovers.  But we have to hurry.  Another boom is surely on the way.

Will Patten
Executive Director
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

In This Issue
VBSR Educational, Networking and Community Service Events
2009 Spring Conference a "must-attend event"
VBSR Public Policy Update
New Membership Benefit: The VBSR Venture
Applications for Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award
Burak Anderson & Melloni Attorneys Garner Prestigious National Recognitions
Livable Jobs Toolkit Workshop was a Success!!!
Deane C. Davis Award Finalists BioTek Instruments, Inc., National Life Group and Seventh Generation Vie for Top Honor
VBSR Members in the news!!
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) awarded $10,000 Challenge Grant
VBSR Members get 20% discount to Green Mountain College New Sustainable Business program
VBSR Bookshelf - 101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green
VBSR Educational, Networking and Community Service Events

2009 VBSR Business Open Studios:
connect, learn, share, apply.

...new name, fresh focus...

Join us for this year's Business Open Studios and learn something new, think something new, meet someone new.

VBSR Business Open Studio hosted by
Good Point Recycling, Middlebury, VT
Thursday, June 4, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Join us at Good Point Recycling to talk about how sustainable business can be used as an economic development tool to create jobs. Read more...

VBSR Business Open Studio hosted by
LineSync Architecture, Wilmington, VT
Tuesday, July 14, 2009; 5:30 - 7:30 pm
To sponsor this event, please contact Rita Bothfeld at ritab@vbsr.org

If you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a VBSR event, contact Rita Bothfeld at 802-862-8347 or at ritab@vbsr.org.
2009 Spring Conference a
"must-attend event" 

This was how one conference participant described last week's 19th Annual Spring Conference. The event was a full day of inspiration and learning, with keynote speeches from David Cay Johnston and Will Raap, and 17 workshops covering a diversity of business topics. The conference received press coverage from Seven Days, WCAX, WPTZ, and The Mark Johnson show on WDEV (scroll down Mark Johnson's web page for his podcasts from 5/5 with Jim Pratt, Will Patten, Stephen Conant, Frank Sadowski, and David Cay Johnston). Many thanks to VBSR's Program Committee, chaired by Melinda Moulton of Main Street Landing, and all of our workshop panelists and sponsors for making the day a huge success!
VBSR Public Policy Update

VT Flag Image2009 Legislative Session

The 2009 Legislative Session has adjourned
although we are awaiting the Governor's
signature on critical bills including renewable energy, Vermont Yankee decommissioning and economic development.

We will continue working to ensure VBSR's end of session
legislative priorities become law including:
    * "Farm to Plate" Legislation (H.313)
    * Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Bill (H.436)
    * Increased Renewable Energy & Clean Energy
       Assessments (H.446)
    * Responsible Budgeting (H.441)

The governor has called a special session for June 2 regarding the state budget. The budget passed by the legislative contains a delicate balance between program cuts and revenue raising.  VBSR's budget position advises that policy makers use spending to protect vulnerable groups and to contribute to broad-based growth and that raising revenue during an economic downturn can be good fiscal policy. For the full budget policy view here.

On a more positive note:  
- A VBSR legislative economic development initiative (Farm-to-Plate Investment Program) was passed as part of the Economic Development Bill - H.313.  We are very grateful to our advocacy partner Rural Vermont, as well as the Sustainable Jobs Fund and the many lawmakers who worked so hard including the bill sponsors Rep. Chris Bray and Rep. Jason Lorber.  Strategic investment in Vermont's food systems is an economic development strategy that builds on Vermont's strengths and values.
- VBSR and our members provided stong support for Marriage Equality which will be in effect as of July 1!

Please visit the public policy webpage to link to issue pages and VBSR's related testimony and visit the policy blog now and also next week when we post a comprehensive end of session report.
New Membership Benefits

Take the VBSR Venture Now!!!

Take advantage of this new membership benefit to assess your company's progress toward social responsibility.  This is a management tool to provide your company with a baseline metric against which you can measure its progress.  All information and results are solely for the use of your company and are 100% confidential.  Join the VBSR Venture toward social responsibility.

VBSR is currently beta testing the Venture and the complete tool is projected to be available in Fall 2009

For more information and a link to the VBSR Venture please click here.
Applications Now Being Accepted For
Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award

Award recognizes organizations that have made a commitment to employee health and well-being. 
Profits, non-profits, educational institutions and government/municipal organizations that promote employee involvement; health and safety; growth and development; work-life balance; and/or recognition are encouraged to apply.  Evaluation by professional psychologists includes confidential feedback to organizations. 

Contact: Carolyn Edwards, Ph.D.: for.carolyn.edwards@gmail.com. or www.phwa.org/app.
Burak Anderson & Melloni Attorneys Garner Prestigious National Recognitions
Burlington, Vt. (Lexis Nexis) April 15, 2009 --
The law firm Burak Anderson & Melloni, PLC was recently named to the 2009 Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers, a designation awarded to fewer than 5% of all law firms in America. In addition, several attorneys from the Burlington, Vermont law firm have recently been honored for their legal credentials by respected national publications.

Michael L. Burak, an experienced commercial litigator and intellectual property attorney, was named by Super Lawyers magazine as a Super Lawyer in the state of Vermont.

Livable Jobs Toolkit Workshop was a Success!!!
VBSR co-sponsored a workshop with the Peace and Justice Center and Vermont Human Resources Association on April 29th to address Managing and Retaining Employees in hard economic times through use of the Livable Jobs Toolkit.  About 20 businesses arrived to learn about the VBSR Livable Jobs Toolkit and to discuss how to continue to help employees meet their needs in the economic crisis.

The Livable Jobs Toolkit, presented by Spence Putnam of Green Mountain College, and Ellen Kahler of the Sustainable Jobs Fund,  is a guide written for businesses striving to provide compensation for employees that will enhance their way of life and gets business thinking beyond just the  benefits package.  Creative compensation was a big part of the discussion: introducing flex time, carpool compensation, employee loan programs, and child care coops.  Benefits that can be added with little cost to a business, but greatly improve the well being and productivity of employees.

Justin Worthley from Rhino Foods was also present to discuss their innovative programs.  The  entire workshop was a great success, and WCAX was there to cover the event.  The attendees left with their own Livable Jobs Toolkit, and a list of contacts to continue the discussion.

VBSR hopes to have at least two more workshops this year in Central and Southern Vermont.  If you are interested in finding out more about the Livable Jobs Toolkit, visit our web-site, www.vbsr.org, or contact tarap@vbsr.org.
Deane C. Davis Award Finalists BioTek Instruments, Inc., National Life Group and Seventh Generation
Vie for Top Honor
Mon May 11 2009
Vermont's business community is comprised of a myriad of companies, both large and small that provide economic stability to the state.  This community offers quality jobs, products and services to consumers in Vermont, the United States and world-wide and holds a strong grasp on employee well-being representative of the Vermont quality of life....

....This year's finalists all share in common their commitment to their employees, communities and the local and global environment.  A dedication to social responsibility is a fundamental theme in the mission statements of all three companies, while the trio still maintains a profitable bottom line....
VBSR Members in the news!!

Burlington Manufacturers Benefit from Employee-Exchange Program
Local Matters
By Kevin J. Kelley [05.06.09]
TAGS: burlington, business, local issues, local matters

J.R. Adams spends most of the day in the freezer working for Rhino Foods, a Burlington-based maker of specialty ice-cream products. But last fall he found himself in another, slower-moving production line: His company "loaned" him to Autumn Harp.
Staying warm was a big advantage of the temporary transfer to the Essex-based cosmetics company, Adams says. Better yet?.....

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) awarded
$10,000 Challenge Grant

MONTPELIER -- The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $10,000 challenge grant from the Castanea Foundation.   Castanea's grant will help support the launch of the VSJF's flexible capital which will provide flexible risk capital to growth companies in Vermont's natural resource and renewable energy sectors.   

According to VSJF's Deputy Director, Janice St. Onge, "As capital markets are shrinking, innovative growth companies in Vermont's natural resource sectors are having difficulty finding flexible risk capital that doesn't impact their ownership position or constrain cash in a way that will slow down their growth.  These same businesses - with the right match of capital for their business model - can be the growth engine Vermont needs to move us towards a sustainable economy."....

Green Mountain College Launches New Sustainable Business
Leadership Program
Green Mountain College Launches New Sustainable Business Leadership Program

VBSR Members get a 20% discount!!!!

Working professionals looking to increase their skills and credentials in sustainable business can now earn a Certificate in Sustainable Business through an innovative four-week distance learning program offered by Green Mountain College June 5-July 3, 2009.

Designed to help mid- and senior level professionals integrate sustainable business practices into their organizations, the Sustainable Business Leadership Program (SBLP) is an intensive four week course that allows participants to complete most of the program online....

Newsletter Sponsorship

INTERESTED IN SPONSORING VBSR'S NEWSLETTER?  E-mail info@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to secure a space today.

Welcome New VBSR Members!
Ashley Grove

Cornerstone Consulting
The Dihedral Group, LLC

EcoMedia LLC

Erik Randall

Extant, Inc.

Institute for Sustainable Communities

Lars Larsen Studios

Laura Crandall


Vermont Kitchen Supply

VT Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VocRehab Vermont)

Wealth Builders of America LLC

Workplace Solutions
VBSR Bookshelf
The Grassfire Effect

Steve Elliott

VBSR Bookshelf Information Courtesy of Northshire Bookstore
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401

Our mission is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens.

We are commited to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.  For more information about our organization visit info@vbsr.org

Membership Information